In women who suffer from infertility, their difficulty in conceiving is sometimes a sign of underlying health issues. For instance, it will know that women who suffer from infertility have a higher rate of pregnancy complications, even if they conceived without treatment. One of the most common causes for infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is often associated with underlying metabolic problems and women with PCOS are more likely to develop medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. However, what is less clear whether this is also true in men. A recently published study suggest that men with fertility issues and sperm abnormalities may be more likely to have other seemingly unrelated medical problems.
A recent study suggests that men who keeps their cellphones in their pants pockets, may have lower sperm motility. Researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK, found that men who kept cell phones in their pockets had lower sperm motility than those who did not, about an 8% reduction. Is this an issue? It remains to be seen whether this decrease really affects a couple’s chances for pregnancy and truly causes infertility.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health, looked at the effects of obesity on sperm quality. They determined that men who were overweight (high BMI) or has a high waist circumference had significantly lower sperm counts and significantly low semen volumes than men of normal weight. Other semen parameters such as motility (percent swimming), morphology (percent normal shaped) and DNA fragmentation (proportion of sperm with normal DNA) interestingly were unaffected.
Patients are always asking me are there dietary changes they can make to enhance their chances for pregnancy. In the case of men with low sperm counts, the answer is often no. However, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health looked at men’s diet and the quality of their sperm in a study presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) meeting. Interestingly, they found that men who consumed lots of processed meats such as bacon and sausage had poorer quality sperm and those who consumed lots of dark meat fish such as salmon and tuna had better quality sperm. While these findings are preliminary; the study size is small and the data has not been published yet, this does suggest that nutrition may play a real role in male infertility.